Muscle tension is a common problem for people all over the world, and many people find themselves seeking out ways to relieve it in the long and short term. A number of things can lead to tension, including physically demanding jobs, poor posture, stress, repetitive motion, and the use of poor body mechanics. While there are several techniques that can offer some relief, it is also important to correct the situation or behavior that leads to the problem.
One of the best ways to relieve muscle tension is massage. Massage therapy involves manipulating the body, working with the muscles and other soft tissue to improve mobility and health. A massage can work out areas where the muscle is contracted, sore, or not being used to its best ability. Techniques such as acupressure or acupuncture can also free up areas of tension and soreness in the body. To be effective, massage treatment should be undertaken at least once a month.
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For advanced adjustments, a chiropractor may be preferred to a massage therapist. A chiropractor can adjust the alignment of the body and help to identify behaviors that are leading to increased tension. He or she can also teach patients how to protect their backs and other sensitive areas while living their daily lives. In addition, many health insurance plans cover chiropractic visits but not massage therapy.
Taking a spa or hot bath can also help to relieve muscle tension. The heat helps the muscles to unwind and relax, and in a bath you can add bath salts with essential oils that will target areas of stress and soreness. Individuals with persistent muscle pain may want to use a jacuzzi or hot tub several days a week, or to use hot packs on areas of tension. Do not use heat therapy without consulting a medical professional, as it may be contraindicated for some conditions.
One of the most important thing you can do to relieve muscle tension is to change your behavior. If you are in a high stress environment, research ways to relieve or reduce the stress, and communicate your needs clearly to people sharing that environment. You may also want to consider psychological counseling to help you reduce your stress levels. You should also set up an ergonomic workspace and use your body correctly.
An ergonomic workspace includes support for your body, such as a neck pillow or elevating cushion. Make sure to stretch your body and move around frequently, especially if you work at a desk or use the phone a lot. Consider measures to change your work environment, such as using a headset instead of cradling the phone with your neck, sit in a specially designed chair, and rework the way your desk is laid out. Learn to use proper body mechanics with the assistance of a physical therapist, who can show you how to work, move, and lift in efficient ways.